Positional plagiocephaly: Baby's head appears flattened

My baby is three months old. He can turn his head both ways, but he is sleeping and keeping it on the right side. The right side of his head seems flattened. Is this going to disappear? Should I be concerned?

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

What you describe has a fancy name -- positional plagiocephaly. This type of molding of the head has become quite common in children since the Back to Sleep campaign has recommended that babies be put to sleep on their backs.

In extreme cases, this molding of the head can cause shifting of the facial bones causing significant problems. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your baby on the back. Use a rolled up towel to raise one side of the body, just slightly, so that it makes it impossible for your baby to turn the molded part of the head back to the mattress. Shifting the position of your baby's body, and thus his head, will help with this molding from becoming a significant problem.

Once your baby begins to roll around, this molding will tend to correct itself.

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